May 152014

It was a cloudy day, but I thought I could still manage an interesting shot of the equestrian statue of Cosimo de Medici. It’s in the Piazza della Signora in Florence, Italy. I liked the idea of making the horse the focus of the image.

equestrian statue in florence italy

Feb 072014

It was a chilly morning in Rome, not as cold as London had been, but brisk. The marble that covers Rome was coated in a light dew. I was wearing an old pair of sneakers. The grip on them had been worn down to the point where I was walking on slicks. Rome was treacherous.

I’d slipped, tripped and slid my way around the Pantheon taking photos I thought were pretty good. Then, this guy decided to pull up with a horse and buggy, left it positioned perfectly while he had a coffee nearby, and I realised I’d have to do it all again.

Despite not having a replacement pair, the shoes found their resting place in a Roman trash can later that day.

A horse and buggy parked next to the Pantheon in Rome

Dec 292012

Bag’s All Packed… well, camera gear at least

I dedicated a good part of today, one day before flying out, figuring out how to fit my camera gear into my brand new F-stop camera bag. At first glance, it’s a pretty awesome pack. They’ve designed a proper backpackers backpack you could hike with all day and fit space for camera gear inside. When I started packing however, I quickly became frustrated. It could barely take anything! I kept thinking, on their website they had loads of lenses, bodies and flashes all fit in. I kept trying. I even started considering which lenses to jettison. Eventually, after pulling out all of the dividers to try to come up with my own system, then forgetting how to put them back in, I logged onto the F-stop website. That’s when the words “those bastards” entered my mind. They’d cleverly removed all of the lens hoods from their lenses in their examples. Fortunately my fury was short-lived. I soon discovered that my lens hoods nest together quite neatly and fit in the handy upper compartment of the bag. Once I’d done this I had acres of space and numerous interesting configurations to play with.

Packed F-stop camera bag

Ready to go… just need clothes

For this trip, I wanted to keep my telephoto lens on my 7d-Mk II, ready for action, should a lion, penguin or whale shark cross my path, unannounced (it sounds like a joke, but I’m likely to see all three on this journey). I figured out I could lay it across the bottom of the pack. For a moment I tried to lay it across the top to keep it really handy, but the opening tapers at the top so this was not an option. With the 7d plus 70-200mm lens across the bottom of the pack I fit in the rest of my gear, lenses and bodies all separate. I sat back, pleased with myself. I even took a photo and sent it to my friend, who didn’t respond, funnily enough it was only exciting to me. Then, I changed my mind. One camera and lens ready to go wasn’t enough, I wanted my 5d-Mk II to fit with a lens attached as well. I don’t want to have to break it down every time I put it away. So, I settled on the configuration photographed to the right. There’s a startling amount of stuff in the bag, and I still have space in the top compartment.

I’ll write  a fuller review of this bag after I get back from my first trip, but for the moment I’m pretty happy with it, despite my initial frustration. I’ll also keep you posted if I have an issues with it on a day to day basis as I travel around Southern Africa.

 Today’s Photo: Icelandic Horses, Up Close!

I love these Icelandic horses, and if I go back this year. I’ll be spending a night in a field just trying to get photos of these guys under the midnight sun. I never really put any time into photographing these horses when I was there last time. We came across this pair on our way back to the hostel. I was with my friend, who’s a vet. This is an important point because as I hopped out the car she said, in all her vet-ly wisdom, “You better be quick ‘cos they’ll run away from you. You’ll never get close to them.”

Me taking a photo of 3 icelandic horses through a wire fence

Johnny Peacock: Better Horse-Whisperer than Charlotte

Little did she know that all animals love me, including cats, which I’m allergic to. As this photo shows, she soon ate her words. As soon as I walked up to the fence the horses trotted right over and began striking poses.

I’m visiting her in Africa soon and I’m hoping that, this time, any large animals we encounter there, particularly the cats, will be more attracted to her than me!

If you’re wondering why I’m not wearing socks, it’s because my feet hurt and I was riding back barefoot, to let them air out. When we stopped I just pulled on a pair of sneakers I had in the trunk.

Tonight’s photo wasn’t taken from the angle you see there, though I think that may be gracing your computer screen soon. I took this shot shortly after the horses came over. These two seemed inseparable. The dark one lead the way and the tan one followed along. They stopped for a little cuddle right in front of me and I fired away. I’m not really happy with this photo. I’d have liked it if their heads were a bit closer together and if I hadn’t cut off their hooves. But, I did a quick preparation of all the photos I have left to work on while traveling and discovered that, including those I’m not quite happy with, I only have 26 left!! I’m going to have to be pretty active on my stopover in London and my three weeks in Cape Town, Mozambique, Zambia, and possibly either Botswana or Namibia to make sure I get enough quality shots to keep me going until my next trip!

Close up of dark brown and tan small Icelandic horses.

Jun 292012

After failing to reach the giant bird-cliff at Latrabjarg we were making our way back to the hostel. I stumbled upon this scene. Three identical looking horses hanging about a ruin in front of a shack. It was definitely time to make a stop. My travel buddy was a large animal vet who had been trying to catch some sleep on the drive back. She didn’t mind getting woken up for these guys though.

Icelandic horses are pretty incredible. They’re little stout things but incredibly photogenic with rugged coats and flowing manes. You could probably spend all of your time in Iceland photographing just the horses. There were a number of fields full of horses I could see myself spending hours at if I had more time. I’m hoping to spend all of June in Iceland next year. If I do get to do that I’ll definitely spend a lot of time hopping fences for closeups of Icelandic horses.

Three Icelandic horses hanging about a ruin in front of a shack with water and a rocky grass covered hill.